On this cold, rainy, gray spring day, I am reaching into my storage of Vitamin D that I tucked away in my core while I was in Mexico for a month earlier this year. I also stored patience, perspective, joy and some lush green and blue skies to hold me through to warm Colorado days. I left the Mexican folk music there.
Last year my wonderfully inspiring friend, Carrie, a.k.a. Wild Mama, invited me (and my family) to join her (and her family) in the small fishing village of Yelapa, Mexico. They have been going for years for months at a time and she has written great essays and talks with a spark in her eye about how this magical place feeds her soul and spirit of adventure.
It was an unmissable opportunity! It was a gift.
She found us a great palapa
that would accommodate all of us and via a Skype phone call, we booked it for a month. I decided to go ahead of Chris and the boys for two weeks by myself to paint and just be. It was a gift for myself! Un regalo para mi!
I was excited to escape the cold brown winter of Colorado that makes my insides feel the same. I was nervous. What was I thinking? I speak three words of Spanish and understand less when it is spoken to me.
Alone in the jungle? Even just alone!! What would that be like? I’m never alone for more that a few hours. Two weeks?
Scorpions… snakes…. spiders…
But the promise of the beach, salt water, warmth, sunshine, flowers, time to read, paint and think far outweighed any fear.
So mid February, I packed my bag with paints, brushes, bathing suits, hiking shoes, books, journals, bug spray, sunscreen and colorful dresses. Carrie and her family greeted me at the pier in Puerta Vallarta. We loaded onto the water taxi and were off to Yelapa. The Sierra Madres rise up out of the bay with the clouds sitting on their tops! The salt water sprayed my face taking me back to my childhood and suddenly I’m 12 again. Watching my friend mother her two children on the bumpy ride to the cove we would call home for awhile was pure sweetness. When we turned out of the bay to Yelapa, the sun streaked through the clouds shinining down on the pueblo and beaches. I could see the waterfall behind the white dome of the church. A lovely yellow house sat on the rocks at the water’s edge reminding of my yellow house back in Colorado.
Orange, blue and white umbrellas lined la playa. The palmed roofs of the palapas are sprinkled amongst the brightly painted buildings. And that green!!! EVERYWHERE!
At the beach, Carries’ husband, Chris greeted us and enlisted a friend to carry my bags up the VERY STEEP hill to my palapa.
I’m not sure how I would have done it without them. My two story casa for the month was lovely! A huge table to paint on, a laundry line to hang them to dry, a wonderful space to read and write, a magnificent ceiling of woven palms to sleep under,
an incredible out door shower with a heart made of shells and rocks under foot
and a palm tree “roof” along with hibiscus, bird of paradise, bougainvillea, geraniums, ferns, a view of the beach down below, and electricity (which I wasn’t expecting)! There were fresh flowers on the table from my hostess, cookies and wine from my friends and two weeks of time ahead of me to enjoy. My cheeks already hurt from smiling.
For the first few days, I read, set up my new “studio” and hiked all over the place to get the lay of the land. I battled tremendous waves of guilt for getting to be in this space and time. I had sensory overload in the best possible way… vibrant colors, new people and culture, new foods, new sounds… like the chachalacas that wake you up every morning, new smells…. like the soapy smell of the Bella Donnas,
not to mention a new language which I was butchering. I thought I would journal, but there was so much to take in, I found it impossible. They only way I could was to paint. Hours would pass and I would be covered in new colors of this wonderful place and I managed to get some on canvas too.
I felt my brain and heart expanding and settling simultaneously. It was a wonderful way to be.
It is impossible to sit and write all that those two weeks by myself meant, not to mention the magic of two weeks with my family. I will have to break it down into parts. But the biggest truths are that Carrie’s invitation was a gift that changed me at what feels almost a cellular level. The time and support that Chris gave me to go off for two weeks by myself, restored a part of me that I didn’t realize had been so completely buried and depleted. And the gift I gave myself was to be in the present moment, enjoy my own company (easier said than done for two weeks straight), and challenge myself to soak up everything that I experienced, thought and felt; all of it!
Stay tuned for the dance of the chickens… another day!
* I just type and publish… I’ve got paintings to do! Yay! Boys to take care of! Dogs to walk. Chocolate to eat. Gardening to feed my soul and I probably need a shower. Sorry for not editing!